Monday, January 23, 2012

Peppermint Chocolate Layer Cake

This was a cake that I made for my friends birthday way back in December... My layer cakes have a tendency to tilt to one side, lean a little bit and kind of look like a drunken sailor put them together, but dang it - they taste good! :) This one was no exception - how can you go wrong with chocolate and mint?? Definitely worth making - even if it is past candy cake season! :)

Peppermint Chocolate Layer Cake
(recipe found in Good Housekeeping)

One Bowl Chocolate Cake
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup hot water
3/4 cup low fat buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Chocolate Ganache Frosting and Glaze
1 pound semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons creme de menthe or 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
14 dark chocolate thin mint candies
1 tablespoon corn syrup
candy canes, peppermint sticks, and starlight mints, for decorating

Prepare cake: preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease two 9" round cake pans. Lien bottoms with parchment paper; lightly grease paper. In large bowl, with mixer on low speed, beat flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt until well combined. With mixer running, add water, buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla. Increase speed to medium and beat until smooth, scraping bowl occasionally.l Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Let cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Invert into racks. Discard parchment paper and cool completely. Cake layers can be kept at room temperature, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap overnight.

Prepare ganache: place chocolate in large heatproof bowl. In 2 quart saucepan, heat cream on medium high until just bubbling. Immediately pour over chocolate. Let stand 1 minute, then stir until smooth. Stir in creme de menthe until well incorporated. Return 1/3 ganache (about 1 cup) to saucepan; set aside for glaze. Refrigerate remaining ganache, uncovered, 10 minutes; with wire whisk, stir well. Repeat chilling and stirring until ganache is the consistency of frosting and becomes light brown. With long serrated knife, cut each cake in half horizontally. Place 1 layer, cut side up, on wire rack set over waxed paper. Spread top with 1/4 of frosting and top with another cake layer, cut side up. Spread with another 1/4 of frosting and top with another cake layer, cut side up. Spread with another 1/4 of frosting and top with final cake layer. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake to seal in crumbs. Let stand in cool place for frosting to harden and set. When frosting is set, add corn syrup to reserved ganache in saucepan. Heat on low just until runny, stirring constantly. Pour glaze over cake and immediately spread to evenly coat top and sides. (Excess glaze with run through rack.) Let cake stand until set. Carefully transfer to cake plate. Decorate with candy as desired.

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